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Mast Raising and Lowering method 

by Dave McGuire
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Rig_from_Bow2.jpg (44219 bytes) Jib halyard connects from tip of mast to outboard end of the pole.  Tow line from our old ski boat runs down from pole through snatch block at bow, through snatch block on toe rail, and to jib winch at cockpit.  (see pole arrangement - left)

Three winds still requires a handle on my single speed winch.  Two other lines attach to outer end of pole and are tied to toerail port and starboard so they are snug when mast is lowered (slightly loose when mast is raised).  Too loose and mast is unstable as it lowers.  Too tight and it bends the pole (did it - toe rail and rest of rigging was fine).  I plan to dedicate lines with clips that have length set in the future.

Otherwise, although raising is easy, it still requires guessing for tension when I am preparing to lower it again.  In the Keys this was not a problem though.  We used it so often I just bungeed it to the deck with the lines still tied to the toerail.  It was not really in the way of the Genoa or sheets - we tucked it under the solar shower on the starboard side of the forward cabin - and it cut prep time by several minutes when we needed to duck under a bridge.  Haven't tried it with working jib - might be a little cluttered to have the pole there with the jib inside the lifelines. (see cradle and pole arrangement - right)

Lowering is quick, slipping by hand on winch (2 winds) a foot or so at a time until it is just above cradle, then gently lowering in.  This meant we could do it easily under way even in waves, setting it up to wave and wind and lowering in a brief window of opportunity (requires assistant to monitor backstay to keep 
mcguire_Rig_from_Stern-a.jpg (46658 bytes)
Mast_in_Cradle2.jpg (52424 bytes) it from fouling prop - this was one problem we actually managed to avoid!).  I preferred raising with the wind astern and lowering with the wind dead ahead. Critical moment is near bottom when raising or lowering.  Higher is more stable. Instability was a problem one time at the dock when we raised the mast with the Christmas lights in the rigging.  A bystander tried to help by keeping the lights on the backstay out of the water, but she put too much tension on the backstay from the angle where she stood on the dock.  This caused the mast to sway well over the dock.  I lowered it quickly into the cradle, grabbing it and straightening it as it lowered (lowering it is one handed, leaving a free hand under the mast in the center of the cockpit).  
The next try went fine.  With no side tension the mast went up as it should.  Over time we became proficient enough to raise it as we motored away from shore before we hit the waves, so long as we motored with the wind dead astern.  We preferred this to the alternative of hitting real waves with the mast in the cradle. (snatch block and lines for raising system right)

We had problems when waves were over 3 feet.  The mast would bounce in the cradle despite multiple tight bungees.  One time the tip of the mast went into a large wave as it passed behind, bending the Windex.
Snatch_Blocks.jpg (35991 bytes)

 

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